Friday, June 10, 2011

Daughter of Joy by Kathleen Morgan

I considered not writing a review of this book. Mostly because it is not my kind of book. But I decided I should write about because books are the only thing that are giving me a reason to write lately. And more over they make me think about things. I picked this book to read because it was a free download. And I made a promise to myself that I would go outside of my comfort zone and try new things. I remember the day I tried out urban fantasy books, and I protested the whole way. Turns out I fell in love with them. Now I can't imagine a world without werewolves and fae and everything else in between. So why not venture out? Maybe there is something out there for me that I never would have thought to give a chance, a book somewhere on a shelf that will stay with me for years to come. So here I go on my journey to find that book.

To start this is a period book. The thing about period books is that as an English major and well quite frankly as a history minor I have read pieces of literature from this time, and they sound nothing like this. Although I get the reasoning behind it. I can remember struggling to understand the words on the page before me, and trying to figure out what they were saying in 1775. How the English language evolves over years is amazing to me. So that being said I believe the author did her very best to convey the times while still writing in a dialect that the average person living in 2000's could understand.

For me this book contains a lot of God. Almost to much for my liking. It's a personal preference. I understand the need for God in this book, this woman is starting over after one of the most tragic things that could happen to a person have happened to her, both her son and her husband dead within a years time. To rebuild a life after that, to strike out on her own, you need something to hold on to, and I understand that need wholeheartedly. The only thing that bothered me about the continuing mention of God 18 times on every page was Abby was on a journey to find herself, to become herself, and instead she spends so much time focusing on what God wants, and forgets to listen to her wants and needs.

Beth is really the only person I found moving throughout the book. She is a young girl who has literally turned into a bitter angry girl by following her fathers example. She tries so hard to be hard, to be like her father, that she knows no other way to be. The journey that she and Abby take together, in showing Beth that it is okay to be a girl, to want to be happy is okay, it's moving to see.

I found the last couple of chapters very rushed. The sudden reappearance and acceptance of Conner's son felt unnatural. The then sudden return of the supposed dead wife, Sally, is the most forced, surreal, part of the book. In all of like a chapter she arrives, throws everything into disarray, and then dies. And then oh my gosh, Abby and Conner and wed and live happily ever after. All this long buildup to only have this sudden sequence of events happen is just weird.

I also felt that the arrival of Hannah was unnecessary, like an attempt by the author to give the other characters in the book some reason to interact with the main characters. And as a way to show Abby has some kind of sway over Conner. Although it should be noted this is a series of books, and I think Hannah ends up being one of the "brides" in the course of the series, so maybe that is why she was introduced, either way I don't feel like she made any contribution to the story of Abby.

I will say that it was able to keep my attention, I didn't hate it. I didn't like it. But this book is not for me. I can see the appeal for other people though (that is until the last couple of chapters where the entire pace of the book changes). I will not be continuing with the series, but I do enjoy a free book.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent


To begin I would like to say I LOVE Rachel Vincent. I am slightly willing to be unfairly kind to her because her the world she creates with her mind makes me so uber happy I am sometime willing to overlook things I would sometimes give other authors grief about. This all stems from the Shifters series, of which I fell madly in love with. That being said I remember when Vincent started releasing information about Soul Screamers and then finally the novella. I toyed with the idea of reading it over and over again, mostly because I love her and there were times between Shifters books when I needed a fix. But alas I avoided the YA. My reasoning behind this is this, I also have a bit of a love affair with Rachel Caine (PS I love that both of these amazing women live in Texas). I started with Rachel Caine's Weather Warden books, and then moved on to her Morganville books. While I enjoyed the Morganville books, they clearly have a different tone to them, and because of that I picked up on things I found annoying. And then when I went back to Weather Warden books because a new one had come out, I would find those same things I found annoying in Morganville, and then my love for Rachel Caine got a little bit smaller (I still buy all her books and read them religiously so it's not like I'm a Rachel Caine hater now). My fear with Vincent is that the same thing would happen, and I was not willing to do that. Well Shifters has been over for a while now, my tears have dried over the amazing ending to a great series. And now I need a Rachel Vincent fix. After stalker her website for months, and searching the internet far and wide for any information on her new series I have given up and gone for Soul Screamers, or at least the novella, it's hella cheap on my Nook so I figured why not. It's short if I don't like it no harm no foul, I will just wait patiently for the new series.

So with that really long and probably unnecessary introduction, I read it. I liked it. Vincent is a great writer, she never dumbs things down for the reader, even the YA department. Another thing I like about her is her world building. I remember reading the first Shifters book and coming away from it thinking I have a really good grasp on what is happening in this world. This not always the case for some series, some series I can be three books in and confused because my foundation isn't good. This is not a problem Vincent has, she's great at the world building (and if her twitter posts are any indications it's because she works her but off on getting everything the way she wants it).

That being said this novella was no world building, it was Kaylee building. Kind of a new concept for me, I'm used to character building while world building. Vincent doesn't explain what Kaylee is, doesn't really introduce any other characters in any kind of major way. You leave the novella knowing that Emma is Kaylee's best friend, and a good one judging by the fact that she wrote to Kaylee while she was in a mental hospital. That her Uncle really loves her, and probably understands her best out of all of her parent figures. That her Aunt loves her but doesn't get her. And that she has a "cool" cousin who we never meet.

Most of the novella takes place in the mental hospital, which is a traumatic experience for Kaylee, as I think it would be for any young girl suddenly waking up tied to a bed. Vincent's descriptions of Kaylee's reactions were real and easy to relate to. I could easily see myself reacting the same way as Kaylee did if I were in her situation.

Mostly this novella leaves the reader with a feeling of knowing what Kaylee is going through and how she feels, and more than that the reader wants to know what the heck is going on with her as much as Kaylee wants to know. It is clear Kaylee knows when someone is going to die, which she knows when she has what she refers to as a "panic attack" and the overwhelming desire to scream. So I kind of have a feel of where this is going but in no way do I have any specifics, or have any idea how Kaylee is going to get a handle on this, but I want to know.

I think the novella achieves its purpose by making me want to see what happens to Kaylee. Vincent gives just enough to make me like Kaylee and find out what happens next. That being said I follow Vincent on Twitter so I know the names of characters and kind of a round about idea of what is going on (I think there is someone named Todd and I think he might be a reaper, don't quote me on that). Either way I am intrigued, and thoroughly enjoyed the writing, will be reading the next book in the series sometime soon.
Buy My Soul to Lose on Amazon!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston


This book was recommended to me in a urban fantasy forum, and so I figured I would give it a try. It is the first book in a trilogy, although from a simple search on it would seem the author has several series to chose from.

I don't have a lot to say about this particular book. It was an enjoyable read but by no means one of my favorites, but on the same token, it cost around $4 on my nook, which I have no problem spending on a book I enjoyed reading. The book is about a woman who has no idea that she is a shifter, her name is Sara. From the very beginning it is clear she has had a rough upbringing, and has been left with both emotional and some very serious emotional scars from her childhood. The real upside for her is that her two best friends look out for her and give her the kind of love she didn't experience from her grandmother.

Her grandmother, having died not to long before the book began, is clearly the one of the villains in the story. Her grandmothers death, which seems like a relief for her, actually brings back a feud that she was unaware of her entire life. A feud between a Pride of lions and a Pack of wolves (the same Pack her parents were once a part of). The Pack has arrived in a town where there is another Pack, the one who has been protecting Sara all of her life without her knowing. The author does a good job of showing the people in Sara's life as being protective of her, as well as the Pack mentality typical of shifters.

This book contains more sex in it than the typical mainstream book like Charlaine Harris or Patricia Briggs. That being said, it was well written, a common problem with sex scenes is that they come off as cheesy, with the author often time comparing sex to things having nothing to do with sex. Laurenston did a good job at keeping it realistic as possible, although she enjoys the words nipples and hard as rocks.

The relationship between Zach and Sara is fun to watch evolve, especially since the two of them fight it for so long. Although when they both accept it, they fit together so perfectly. I found the character of Casey to be amusing, she strikes me as one of those girls who think they own the world, until someone shows them they ain't shit, which is something Casey needed. Although I think my favorite part of the book was the ending, when in the end there are three packs of wolves who all respect and care for Sara, something not commonly seen this world. It was kind of a tribute to the person Sara is.

Overall I would say this book is worth reading, but don't expect it to be your all time favorite novel, but that doesn't mean it isn't a fun read.
Buy Pack Challenge on Amazon!